Katie Masters

School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Phd title: Putting the ‘social’ in ‘social anxiety disorder’: exploring this mental health issue in women from the perspectives of feminism and anti-psychiatry
Supervisors: Professor Lisa Downing and Dr Emma Foster
PhD Sexuality and Gender Studies


  • MRes Sexuality and Gender Studies (University of Birmingham)
  • BSc Physics (First class, University of Leicester)


I have been interested in issues of gender and feminism since my late teens, but only realised it was something I could pursue academically in my final year as an undergraduate. After graduating, I began the MRes Sexuality and Gender Studies programme here at Birmingham. During this time I became fascinated with the gender dynamics associated with mental health and psychiatry, and this formed the basis of my MRes dissertation. I started my PhD, on a similar topic, on a part-time basis in 2016, self-funding for over a year whilst working. Since being awarded the CAL doctoral scholarship this academic year, I have been able to resume my research full-time.


  • ‘Feminist Political Ideas’, 2nd year, School of Government and Society, 2019.
  • 'European Cultural Theory', 2nd year, Department of Modern Languages, 2016
  • Lab Demonstrator, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Autumn term 2014- Spring term 2017


My research examines the interaction between gender and social anxiety disorder, using anti-psychiatry and feminist discourses about women's 'madness'. I interview women who identify as having social anxiety disorder and in doing so, provide a platform for their voices. My work intends to act as a corrective to the existing psychiatric literature by exploring the exogenous structural factors, such as heteropatriarchy, which may contribute to the presentation of social anxiety disorder among women.

I am still recruiting participants: if you would like to know more, please get in touch.

Other activities

I currently hold a College of Arts and Law Doctoral Scholarship.

After graduating from my BSc, I was awarded an ESPRC studentship which allowed me to complete a project in medical physics during the vacation period.

I am an Assistant Editor for the postgraduate journal Midlands Historical Review.

I have worked as Graduate Research and Editorial Assistant for Cambridge University Press, helping with the preparation of the final manuscript of Professor Lisa Downing's edited volume, After Foucault.

I have previously co-convened the University of Birmingham's Postgraduate-led Sexuality and Gender Forum, ROLES.

My research blog can be found here.


Masters, K., ‘Putting the ‘social’ in ‘social anxiety disorder’: Exploring external contributors to this mental health issue in women, Research Poster Conference 2019, University of Birmingham, 19th June 2019.

Masters, K., ‘Tending to the “neglected anxiety disorder”: A critique of the psy science literature on women and social anxiety disorder’, at Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2019 , University of Tampere, 13th-14th June 2019.

Masters, K., ''”Is that all there is?' Challenging biological explanations of sex/gender differences in anxiety and depression', at 'Intersecting Identities' Research Event and Panel Discussion on 'Language, Sexuality & Wellbeing', University of Birmingham, 30th January 2019.

Masters, K, 'Antisocial Personality Disorder and Protest Masculinity: The Same Thing?' at Roles, University of Birmingham, 19th May 2016. 

Patel, N., Horsfield, M.A., Banahan, C., Janus, J., Masters, K., Morlese, J., Egan, V. and Chung, E.M., Impact of perioperative infarcts after cardiac surgery. Stroke 46.3 (2015), 680-6.